Coachella 2017: 5 Most Beloved Musicians-Turned-Actors

People in showbiz tend to be rather multi-talented, or perhaps that’s just a survival strategy. Either way, if you can sing, dance and act, chances are you can make it big. Elvis Presley’s enduring legacy may have much to do with the fact that he not only revolutionized music, but also starred in several films that were quite successful.

Many musicians have turned to acting. Billie Joe Armstrong, better known as Green Day’s frontman, did cameo roles in some films but received critical acclaim when he played St. Jimmy in the Broadway adaptation of the band’s concept album “American Idiot.” And on the other end of the spectrum, there are talented actors like Johnny Depp, for whom music is a parallel pursuit, side project or hobby.

So, while you gear up for Coachella 2017, we bring you a list of our favourite musicians-turned-actors for inspiration. Who knows, you may end up liking their films as much as you adore their music!

1. David Bowie


The quintessential icon of androgyny and experimentation, Bowie’s artistry not only included innovating within several music styles and fashion trends, but also within acting as well. Two of his most well-known films have achieved cult status: “The Labyrinth”(1986) and “The Hunger”(1983). In the former, he plays an attractive but subtly evil Goblin King and in the latter, he’s an unconventional vampire. In recent years, he’s also played Nikola Tesla in Nolan’s award-winning film “The Prestige” (2006).

2. Madonna


An enduring legend who’s been working in the music industry from the late ‘70s, Madonna is also quite the charming actress, especially when it comes to romantic movies. Although most of her films weren’t that successful, she earned a Golden Globe for her role in “Evita” (1996), and “Desperately Seeking Susan” (1985) was listed by the New York Times critic Vincent Canby as one of the 10 best films of the year.

3.  Jared Leto

Most artists tend to be successful at one particular area. But Leto’s made a name for himself not only as the lead singer of the band 30 Seconds To Mars, but also as a dependable Oscar-winning actor. He’s a method actor and is very selective in his choice of roles, such as playing a transgender woman in “Dallas Buyers Club” (2013) and the Joker in “Suicide Squad” (2016).

4. Will Smith


Smith was initially the MC of the hip duo DJ Jazzy Jeff & The French Prince, who won their first Grammy way back in 1988. Now he’s one of the most successful African American actors in Hollywood, with hit films like “Independence Day” (1996), “Men In Black” (1997) and “The Pursuit of Happyness” (2006).  

5. Jon Bon Jovi

The lead singer of one of the most popular rock bands out there, Jon Bon Jovi has experimented with a variety of acting roles, both in film and television. One of his earliest film roles was playing the painter in “Moonlight and Valentino”(1995). He also played a vampire hunter in “Vampires: Los Muertos” (2002), a teacher in the horror film “Cry Wolf” (2005), and a rockstar in “New Year’s Eve” (2011).

Are you someone who loves singing and acting, and can’t choose which one to focus on? Then be inspired by these artists who have the best of both worlds. Study musical theatre or acting for film at New York Film Academy.

What To Expect From Coachella 2017

Whether you’re a newbie or a veteran concert goer, one cannot deny that the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival is an experience like no other — and it reinvents itself every year. For NYFA’s visual and performing arts students, Coachella can serve as an inspiration, a retreat, and even a place to simply enjoy the mingling of creative people, different forms of art, and the outdoors.

Spread over six grand stages, with several musical acts performing simultaneously and featuring a plethora of art installations and sculptures, Coachella may prove to be very overwhelming if you arrive there just with a festival pass and no planning. So to make your Coachella trip more fun, memorable and easy, here’s our round-up on what to expect from this year’s line-up of performers and artists:

1. Headlining Artists Include Radiohead, Gorillaz and Kendrick Lamar


This is your big chance to watch your favourite singer perform right next to you — and perhaps even take a selfie if you’re lucky. Radiohead is a household name for every fan of rock and roll, and for the ardent follower of the Gorillaz, amidst beautiful renditions, also expect to get a sneak preview of their latest album, “Humanz,” due to release on April 28. Meanwhile, rapper Kendrick Lamar doesn’t usually do festivals, so it may be a rare and unforgettable experience to watch him live with his band, “The Wesley Theory.”

2. There Is Enough Diversity of Genres to Please Everybody


Yes, whether you’re a rock, pop or country person or if you sway to the beat of a different drum altogether, there is something at Coachella for everyone. Are you into film soundtracks? Then there’s Hans Zimmer, who is all set to play your favourite compositions from “The Lion King,” “Inception,” or “The Dark Knight.” Are you a jazz lover? Don’t miss out the New Orleans’ jazz veterans Preservation Hall Jazz Band performing on stage. Love electronica? Check out Aussie-based band The Avalanches. Other interesting acts include Bon Iver, Lorde, Future Islands and Pond, among others.

3. Innovative Cuisine and Pop-Up Restaurants

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No party or music festival is complete without lavish food and drink, and Coachella 2017 won’t disappoint. The menus of featured restaurants include delicacies like Peruvian burritos and Belgium Leige waffles, while the VIP section has three pop-up restaurants to satiate your taste buds. If you love the outdoors and desserts, check out Outstanding in the Field — and before you hit the mosh pit, hydrate yourself by sipping some exotic cocktails.

4. Interactive Art Is Everywhere


Amidst the crowd, the desert heat, the raucous screams and the sweat, it’s easy to overlook one thing: that Coachella is actually very beautiful. And this is why the 2017 edition promises to be better than the last: there are to be more large-scale art installations. There’s also a growing sense of eco-consciousness that’s sure to infuse everything from the design of the stages to the placement of the installations. Don’t miss out on “Desert X,” an art biennale, which features art director Neville Wakefield and artist Phillip K Smith III. Also check out the exhibition “TRASHed- Art Of Recycling” and be inspired by innovative ideas to take home.

Coachella 2017, promises to be an audio-visual extravaganza like no other and will no doubt be the buzz of the entertainment industry for some time. With live music, all night-parties, massive art installations, delectable food and an eco-friendly atmosphere, a weekend at Coachella is something you’ll neither regret nor forget. However, to make the most of the experience, don’t forget to go through the itinerary, plan exactly what you’ll see and hear, arrive at the venue early and expect to be entertained beyond your wildest dreams.

Inspired by Coachella? Ready to turn your artistic inspiration into a new skill? Study the visual and performing arts at New York Film Academy.

The Up-And-Coming Actors Performing At Coachella 2016

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It’s that time of year again—the days are longer, people’s calendars are filling up with more and more parties, and outdoor festivities are popping up more often than a jack-in-the-box at a preschool. Spring is definitely in the air. And how fitting that the flora is flourishing again as many heads would seem all but bare without the floral accessories accompanying them to the festivals of this season. Namely one, in particular—COACHELLA (ella, ella… a nod to Rihanna’s surprise guest performance with Calvin Harris on Sunday for those of you wondering). It’s not news that this yearly event in the middle of a Palm Springs’ desert gathers big names in entertainment – both on and off the stage. And this year’s artist line up is no different. What may be news to some, however, are the names these musical artists are making for themselves in film and television. So here are a few noteworthy crossover acts in that respect.

A$AP Rocky

A$AP Rocky on stage

Rick Famuyiwa’s coming-of-age Hip Hop film, Dope, debuted at the Sundance Film Festival last year to much fanfare. It was also the acting debut for Rocky (birth name Rakim Mayers) who played the integral part of ‘Dom’—a charismatic drug dealer from the notorious streets of Inglewood, California. Although he only appears in the first half of the film, Rocky really made his time count. Acting as the catalyst for the film’s protagonist, Malcom (Shameik Moore), a 90s hip-hop loving “geek” having to deal with a terrible string of events following their meeting, Dom manages to exude likeability and a surprising amount of humor. That said, you get the feeling this isn’t another episode of stunt-casting to get people in theatre seats; Rocky is actually a good actor. “Rocky is so smart and such an intuitive actor that you sort of know unexpected casting would play into how I wanted Dom to be perceived,” says Dope director and writer, Famuyiwa. Looks like the “L$D” rapper has a bright (and diverse) future in film—“Moving forward, I don’t want to play any more roles playing a drug dealer, or a handsome guy,” he says


Sia and Maddie Ziegler at the Grammys

Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage

“I was too embarrassed to tell anyone I wanted to make a movie,” said the talented singer-songwriter during a panel last year. “And then last year, after I made the Chandelier video, I realized that I was pretty good at directing, so I felt a little bit braver.” With her frequent partner-in-crime, Maddie Ziegler (the child dancer starring in the singer’s music videos for “Chandelier,”Elastic Heart,” and “Big Girls Cry”) taking the main role, the film, entitled Sister, follows a sober drug dealer and his sister with autism. Based on a story Sia wrote around eight years ago, the singer sought help from numerous industry friends for her first go at screenwriting, including the children’s book author Dallas Clayton, actor Joel Edgerton, and husband and documentary filmmaker, Erik Anders Lang. “What I do enjoy is the creative process,” says the artist when comparing similarities between music and filmmaking.

Bat For Lashes

Natasha Khan of Bat For Lashes

Natasha Khan aka Bat For Lashes has a number of short films under her belt. The British singer-songwriter and clothing designer has produced one of six parts for the MTV World film, Madly. The film series also includes works from Gael Garcia Bernal and Mia Wasikowska and showcases stories of modern love. Khan’s film is called “I Do.” “It’s about a bride, the morning of her wedding, being disturbed by subterranean weird feelings, messages and signs… It’s all about redemption of grief, putting ghosts to bed before you can move into a fully committed relationship,” she says. The multi-talented singer also directed and starred in her own short film, “Under The Indigo Moon”—a film she made for fashion house YMC for whom she created a clothing line. The film also showcases the song of the same name—one on which she collaborated with singer. In addition to these, Khan is also in the process of writing a screenplay for a film commissioned in 2014 called Gotcha, a family drama about a father and son in a dysfunctional family situation playing hide-and-seek.

Ellie Goulding

Ellie Goulding

The “It” girl of British pop managed to showcase some impressive acting skills in a short film, “Tom And Issy,” which premiered on her Vevo channel in late 2013. Written by Dead Car creators, Stefan Georgiou and Sam Bern, and directed by Notting Hill director Roger Hill, the story was shot entirely on a Nokia Lumia 1020 and captures the complex and intricate details of falling in love. Goulding plays the main role of Issy, who gets whisked away by her flatmate, Tom, from an unappreciative boyfriend to explore London at its finest. As successful as her career in music may be, the singer admits she’s always dreamed of becoming an actress and hopes to eventually swap singing for a career in television. “I’d quite like to act at some point. I just think it’d be quite fun. It’d be another one of my experiments… You’ve got to get experience in front of the cameras [in a soap opera]… Or I’d like to do a play,” she says.

Ice Cube

Ice Cube and Kevin Hart in Ride Along

This hip-hop veteran has accumulated a long list of accolades for his role in films that easily matches his successes in music over the past few decades. By the ripe, young age of twenty, he had already assisted in founding—and later departed—what some would consider the most influential rap groups of all time, N.W.A. With no time to waste, he went on to start an acclaimed solo career in both music as well as the big screen, starring in 1991’s Boyz n the Hood—a role that would instantly establish himself as a force to be reckoned with in film. Since then, the rapper has amassed an extensive filmography that covers everything from family-friendly fare and dramas to action and goofy comedy. While appearing in John Singleton’s Higher Learning in 1992, the multi-talented rapper took on the director’s advice to start writing his own films.

Three years later, he starred in the cult comedy classic, Friday, which he co-wrote with DJ Pooh. He then went on to write, direct, and act in The Players Club in 1998 as well as writing, producing, and starring in Next Friday in 2000. With a string of acting gigs in critically acclaimed films over the past decade, his most recent film career highlight came about yet again just last year, with the N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton. The Oscar-nominated film, which he produced, has made a definitive mark, boasting the highest domestic box office tally for a film that’s directed by a black filmmaker, F. Gary Gray. In the same year, it was also picked by the Screen Actors Guild for a nomination in the “best performance by a cast in a motion picture” category. All in all, the film’s success was truly “Dream come true stuff, man,” as Cube explains.

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